After leaving Memphis, we stopped by to see my great-grandmother (Jessica's great-great-grandmother) on our way to Nashville. The next morning she died peacefully as her heart slowly wound down.
Grandmother (as everyone called her) was 95 years old. Although we did not get to visit with her long, I had a wonderful time talking with her and sharing stories about what Jessica had been up to. She told me quite a few stories of things her children had done when they were small (like jumping off pianos and counter tops) that reminded me of Jessica! Every time I go back to visit that side of the family, I always feel like I am going home. At best we never saw this side of the family more than once or twice a year, but I think I get a lot of what makes me who I am from this side of the family and apparently so does Jessica!
This side of the family was all about having a good time! No matter where they were or what was going on, they were going to have a good time doing it! This side of the family was also the first settlers to that area of Tennessee, so they all seem to have a lot of spunk and determination....and a bit of inbreeding!! (I think that is where the sleep walking and wild dreams comes from!) Christmas with the family was always great fun! Everyone would come in on Christmas day for lunch. When it was time to open gifts, inevitably a Christmas paper ball fight would ensue, and the matriarchs of the family would do their best to get everyone back in order! Often times after we had left to go home and were several miles down the road, my second cousin would pop up and say "Are we there yet Dad?" Then my dad would act all aggravated and have to turn around to return "the stowaway."
It was definitely shocking that Grandmother died when she did as she seemed perfectly fine when we went to see her. However, the feeling I am noting the most is "the ending of an era, the turning of a page." She was my last great-grandparent, and the true matriarch of the family. Things will change. They always do when someone leaves this life. However, I am thankful to have known all of my great-grandparents except one, and Grandmother for 27 years. I think by looking at the people we come from, we are better able to understand ourselves. I think it is a shame that the way society has developed, we often spend very little time with older generations. There is so much to be learned by sharing life with those older and younger than you.